The Daily Show weighs in on the “Is Clooney Helping?” debate, refers to John Prendergast as “that guy standing next to Clooney”:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
With the South Sudan referendum fast-approaching, George Clooney’s “Not On Our Watch” is funding commercial sattelites to monitor possible conflict in the country. Clooney has described it as “the best use of his celebrity.” Kinda just seems like he’s trying to recruit a mercenary for Ocean’s Fourteen.
The Dominican Republic has again begun deporting illegal immigrants from Haiti after suspending this practice in the wake of last year’s earthquake. Alright, looks like everything’s back to normal.
Al Shabaab has arrested regional leaders for stealing $10,000 in aid intended for drought-affected areas. If they just kicked out the remaining aid agencies they wouldn’t have to worry about this kind of embarrassment…
Hey Internets, long time no see. On the list of things I’m going to try to be better about in 2011 is “occasionally showing up to my own blog.”
Meanwhile, a collection of improbable genocide and war crimes related news stories for your end-of-the-year enjoyment:
And in less improbable genocide-related news, Côte d’Ivoire’s new ambassador to the United Nations, Youssofou Bamba, has warned the international community that his country is “on the brink of genocide” following no-longer-the-President Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to hand over power to actually-the-President Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of the Nov. 28th runoff election. For an excellent overview of why we should take his statement seriously, see Jina Moore’s new post on the situation.
Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, argues in this week’s Foreign Policy that Obama should send troops to Africa to apprehend Joseph Kony:
[A]s Barack Obama recognized in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, “Force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans.”
Obama needs to put this principle into practice, and there is no better case for the humanitarian use of force than the urgent need to arrest Joseph Kony, the ruthless leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and protect the civilians who are his prey. And far from requiring a non-consensual intervention, Kony’s apprehension would be welcomed by the governments concerned.
Say what now? First of all, the fact that force “can be justified” on humanitarian grounds hardly means that the only decision remaining to be made is where to start a-forcing. And second through fourth of all, “far from requiring a non-consensual intervention?”
As they say on ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego,’ let’s go to the map:
The governments concerned are the Sudan, the DRC, and the Central African Republic. Perhaps they might welcome Kony’s apprehension, but does Roth really believe that they would welcome large numbers of American troops trampling their beautiful shrubberies in order to make that happen? Seriously?
Let’s start with Sudan, because recent reports suggest that Kony’s probably hanging out in Darfur at the moment. Let’s set aside for a moment Khartoum’s cuddly relationship with Kony over the years, its refusal to allow Uganda to send its troops into Darfur to pursue him, and the fact that U.S. troops arriving just in time for the referendum on Southern Sudanese independence might raise a few eyebrows. Does Roth really think that if Obama calls up President Bashir and tells him some U.S. marines are on their way over to arrest a notorious war criminal who’s wanted on an ICC warrant, Bashir’s going to be like “peachy keen!” Because we think he might have some concerns about that…
And then we have the DRC, where Kabila continues to insist that the you-say-MONUC-I-say-MONUSCO peacekeepers clear off the field in time for the November 2011 elections. Apparently, it’s time for the Congo to “fly with its own wings.” Definitely sounds like a government that would “welcome” a new intervention, right?
In Roth’s defense, at an A.U. summit today, the CAR government did call for the LRA to be “treated and fought like al Qaeda.” However, we’re thinking that when they said “like al Qaeda” they probably meant “like a serious threat to international peace,” not “like a group in fruitless pursuit of which the United States should reduce our country to rubble for nearly a decade.”
Am I the only one who’s crazy disappointed not to be eligible to vote in the Southern Sudanese Independence Referendum after watching this video?
(Hattip: Roving Bandit)
The Daily Monitor reports today that the Southern Sudanese Parliament is allocating $2 million to arming local militias to fight the LRA. (In case you’re new here, the rebel group moved out of Northern Uganda several years ago and has been causing a ruckus in the border region of Southern Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic ever since.)
The governments in these countries have not been up to the task of protecting their civilians from LRA atrocities, so villagers in many areas have taken matters into their own hands, forming local self-defense forces. In Southern Sudan, these militias, currently armed with knives and traditional weapons, will now be supplied with “guns, communication systems and training.”
This is kind of making my head explode. Let’s have a poll about why:
The bomb blasts in Kampala the other night blew out one of the main cables that brings us our Webbernetz, so I’ve had very limited access the last day or two. (Thankfully, I am fine, and my friends are all fine. The city is tense.) But I did manage to load the NYTimes op-ed by Dave Eggers and John Prendergast on southern Sudan just now.
I certainly agree with the message that the U.S. should remain engaged in the referendum process there. A couple of things caught my eye though:
“In the clear, simple and eminently enforceable peace agreement, South Sudan was granted three crucial things…”
And then there’s this:
“The peace in Sudan is one the United States ‘owns.’”